Clark Atlanta Tightens Security After Student's Death PDF Print E-mail
By Anastasia Semien -- Black College Wire   

Since the tragic shooting death of Spelman student Jasmine Lynn on the campus of Clark Atlanta University, many have been wondering what the university is doing to increase student safety.

To many students' delight, James P. Brawley Drive -- the place where Lynn's life was taken -- has been closed. Orange barricades now sit at each entrance of the road. CAU president Dr. Carlton Brown said that the physical barriers are temporary but the plan to officially close the road is permanent.

CAU Panther/CAU Administration
President Carlton Brown with students Jesse Moore, Chasity Evans
"We have no intention of re-opening JP Brawley to auto traffic. We are currently awaiting a city emergency decision to abandon the road and several side roads to CAU," Brown said. He also previously stated at several of the town hall meetings that took place immediately following the incident that this legal process could take some time.

Brown informed students that the closing down of these roads is only the beginning of the safety measures that must be introduced to the campus in order to ensure protection.

"We are asking all students, faculty and staff to keep their university ID's with them at all times, to display them visibly on their persons and to allow review by public safety personnel, administrative team members, student affairs staff, and housing personnel," he said.

Brown also said that there has been a collaborative effort within Atlanta University Center to combat this issue.

Jasmine Lynn
"All of our institutions have been engaged in more intense patrols. Additionally, we have designed overlapping external patrols between our institutions and APD (the Atlanta Police Department)," he said.

"We are seeking to more fully integrate our safety systems, communications and alert systems across the AUC."

He also said that the AUC has been working on developing its surrounding community for some time now. "For nearly a year, CAU along with the leadership at Spelman, Morehouse and Morehouse School of Medicine have been in meetings with city officials and others about the development of a plan for the economic, physical and safety development of the AUC community from I-20 to MLK, Northside to Lowery."

Many have been curious of the fate of the land that was once occupied by University Homes, a low-income housing project that sat in the almost center of the AUC. Although Brown could not confirm whether the rumors of it becoming a mixed-income apartment complex or shopping center were true, he did say that the AUC has been in constant contact with the Atlanta Housing Authority to ensure that whatever that is built there will be beneficial to students.

"We have been in a collaborative relationship with the Atlanta Housing Authority to plan the future use of these grounds with the understanding that AUC institutions constitute the economic anchor of the community. We want to develop a community that serves the needs of the university, our college partners and the other residents and businesses in this part of the city," he said.

Brown also said that AUC leadership met with church and police leadership Monday to increase community awareness and involvement.

Although the administration has increased its safety efforts, Brown urged students that they too must do their part.

"Students need to comply with the safety measures that we are pursuing - particularly those relative ID display, non congregation in the streets in the evenings and exercising safer movement outside of our campuses - where the vast majority of all area crimes do occur," he said.

"As college and university students, your value is too great to continue a risk that can be removed."

He also advised students who know something about the incident to come forward. "I believe that some of our students know exactly what happened and who was involved, Brown said.

"Our failure to provide information merely increases the likelihood that further tragedy may occur," he added.

He also recommended that parents and alumni contact the Atlanta Police Department and Atlanta City officials to communicate their support for this matter. He also urged them to share "their thoughts, ideas and resources for support."

"All of us must continue to assert and protect the reality that there is no educational paradigm like the rich set of opportunities provided by the institutions of this Atlanta University Center," Brown said.

Anastasia Semien writes for The Panther, the Clark Atlanta University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Oct. 24, 2009
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